Oats with Spiced Apples

When we think of oats, we often think of fiber, and rightfully so! Oats are an excellent source of fiber, a half cup of cooked oats contains approximately 4 grams of fiber and recent studies reveal that we can all use more fiber.

Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber; each serves the body in different ways. To help us understand the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber, the Harvard School of Public Health offers the following definitions:

Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel. It is the form of fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Insoluble Fiber: Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive system relatively intact, adding bulk to stools. It is the form of fiber that prevents constipation and regulates bowel movements, removing waste from the body in a timely manner.

In addition to 4 grams of fiber, oats contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. Here is some additional nutritional data (portion 1/2 cup of oats):
170 calories
3.5 grams of fat
31 grams of carbohydrates
4 grams of fiber
1 gram of sugar and
5 grams of protein.

When we think of protein, we usually think of animal products, but whole grains, also contain protein. When we consume protein from plant sources, such as grains, we avoid cholesterol. Only animal products contain cholesterol.

In the Ayurvedic tradition, spices are considered medicinal and oats are a perfect medium for ingesting spices.

Here are some spices and ingredients that mix well with sweetened oats: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, maca, fruit and even cacao. To increase the protein and healthy fats in a bowl of oats, consider adding seeds or nuts such as chia, hemp, sunflower, almonds, pecans, or nut butter. Additional ingredients to increase protein are soy milk, cow’s milk (low fat), plain greek yogurt, and protein powder.

Protein Content in Milk Options

Below is a traditional Ayurvedic recipe for oats. I have kept it simple, but feel free to modify it and make it your own.

Oats with Spiced Apples

Each evening, we fast from dinner till breakfast. When ending our evening fast and reintroducing food to the body in the morning, it is important that the food we eat be nourishing and soothing to the digestive tract. In this recipe, we combine naturally creamy steel-cut oats with apples that are gently simmered with ghee and delicious spices that include cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods are recognized as having properties. The lipid content of the ghee, the creamy properties of the oats, and the fiber of the apples create a combination that is calming, comforting, and deeply nourishing to the body. Dates are a natural sweetener and make any dish delectable and heartwarming. Moreover, dates are said to energize and revitalize the body.  Dates are high in sugar, so we only need a couple.

Recipe by: Melody Tijerina
Ingredients: Serves 2

1 cup cooked steel-cut oats.
1 large apple peeled and cubed
2 dates, pitted and chopped into small cubes
1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch of sea salt
Toasted almonds, optional
Milk of choice, optional

Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ghee. Allow the ghee to melt. Add apples and dates. Remember to peel the apples to make them easier to digest. Saute apples over medium heat until they begin to lose some juice. Add spices including the salt, if using, and stir spices into the juicy apples. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes until apples are soft, but still holding their shape.

Place warm cooked oats in bowls. Top with spiced apples, toasted almonds, and a splash of milk. Enjoy!